I'll Have What She's Having
By Karen Jeynes
The Narwaiter is the narrator of the play - and a waiter at an expensive bistro in Cape Town, South Africa.
It was a typical day at the V&A Waterfront. 10 000 fish swam in the harbour. 5000 tourists thronged the malls, clicking 5987 cameras. 4000 credit cards were swiped at the 478 retail outlets. 2000 seagulls chided each other, enjoying target practice on the 1946 cars and tour busses (bonus points for bald heads). 1000 cups each of coffee, beer, tea and Coke sustained the teenagers lusting after romance and a quick kiss, the twenty somethings lusting after love and a quick shag, the thirty somethings lusting after acceptance and a quick romance - followed by a ring, a commitment and a mortgage - the forty somethings lusting after companionship and a quick power nap, the fifty somethings lusting after admiration and a quick affair, and the over sixties lusting after their youth and a quick bargain. 500 cleaners cleaned, 50 security guards guarded and 190 car guards stood about aimlessly in the car park. 300 different ringtones mingled with the cries of 42 taxi gaartjies. 150 cruise boats gawked at 52 seals with only 33 people puking their expensive linefish back from whence it came. 60 anniversary couples, 43 birthdays, 32 first dates, 19 break ups. 12 cinemas pumped American values while 7 buskers sold African culture to Americans and over in the corner... you knew there had to be one... 1 mime.
You see it all here, you know. The boats of tourists doing the Macarena, trapped in a timeloop of endless bad taste. The businessmen with their floozies on weekdays and their wives on the weekends. The faghags hoping no one realises the drop dead guy they're with wouldn't be caught dead with a woman. The mothers on mother's day, the fathers on father's day, the old folks trundled out of their old age homes by guilty grown up children every second Sunday. I don't judge, you know, it's not my place, I just smile and nod, yes sir, no sir, anything you say sir. Or madam.
We buy our muffins at Pick n Pay. R4,50. We put them on a plate, little glass container of cheese, one of jam, prepacked pat of pure butter. R18. People pay for ambience, atmosphere. People pay for the concept, the idea. Service with a smile, we're high society m'dear. We are not the working classes... we don't even have to wash up afterwards! See how superior I am. The social class of muffins... you are what you eat. And things taste better with Coca Cola.
Saturday night and it's all right to party. Anyone who's anyone paints the town red, tonight of all nights midnight is where the day begins. Misery loves company and birds of a feather flock together, but two is company and threes a crowd. When you've hit rock-bottom you got to smile though your heart is aching, put on your happy face and hit the town with a painted smile, with killer heels, the life and soul of the party, but it's my party and I'll cry if I want to. They're all dressed up to the nines and no place to go but up, it's all downhill from here, the sadder the girl the thicker the make up, see the pretty maids all a row. Waterproof mascara, smudgeproof, easy application... worth their weight in gold, always carry a spare. They always hunt in packs, and remember, you can never be too rich or too thin... what's a girl to do? It takes courage to be yourself in this crazy mixed up world, and let's be honest, most of the people in here have forgotten who they were to begin with.
It's a dog eat dog world they say, glass ceilinged affirmative action make or break nailbiting back breaking keep your eye on the ball nose to the grindstone shoulder to the wheel prozac nation here today gone tomorrow keep on trucking, firing on all cylinders, but don't get a bee in your bonnet, you're saddled with working your butt off like a dog, you're brown-nosing like a blue assed fly, and it's a fine kettle of fish, but keep your eyes on the prize you weren't born yesterday and every dog has his day, they say, but you need to swim with the sharks, you can't fly with the eagles by day and hoot with the owls at night. There are plenty more fish in the sea, they say, but it's survival of the fittest and you can bet your bottom dollar that money doesn't grow on trees, Rome wasn't built in a day and there's no such thing as a free lunch, you can't have your cake and eat it but they're always dangling a carrot to sweeten the pot. I have to get going, because time is money, but remember, think outside the box, push the envelope, cut the edge - today is the first day of the rest of your life they say and the sixty four thousand dollar question - no lifelines, you can't phone a friend - is: How are you today?
I'll Have What She's Having is available from the playwright, Karen Jeynes.
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